Vols self-report minor violations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee notified the NCAA it found a Southeastern Conference coach committing recruiting violations -- the Volunteers' own Lane Kiffin.

Kiffin was reprimanded by SEC commissioner Mike Slive on Thursday for falsely accusing Florida's Urban Meyer of a recruiting violation.

In letters to the NCAA and SEC, the Tennessee athletic department said the secondary violations occurred in January. One violation occurred when nine prospects on an official visit to the school participated in a mock press conference at Neyland Stadium's media center.

Another violation occurred when a fog machine was used as a recruit entered the field at Neyland Stadium during his official visit on Jan. 9.

Under NCAA recruiting rules, schools are prohibited from simulating a game experience for recruits during official visits.

Tennessee issued letters of admonishment to Kiffin and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron and provided the staff with a review of NCAA recruiting policies. Neither the NCAA nor the SEC has issued any punishment.

"They understand that they must ask questions of the compliance office about anything 'creative' regarding campus visits," the Jan. 26 letter said.

The violations were first reported Monday by The Knoxville News Sentinel.

Tennessee's coaching staff believed the mock press conference was allowed because it was not done in public. They thought the use of the fog machine was allowed after seeing it used at other universities.

Kiffin, who was introduced as Tennessee's new coach on Dec. 1, said Meyer broke recruiting rules by phoning wide receiver prospect Nu'Keese Richardson as he was making his official visit to Tennessee. Doing so would not constitute a violation of either NCAA or SEC rules.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier questioned whether Kiffin broke rules by contacting a recruit before being cleared by the NCAA to do so. Kiffin assured fans that he had been notified by the NCAA that he was cleared before making his first phone call.

Kiffin joked later that he received a 39 out of 40 on his recruiting test required by the NCAA.